Top End Explorer

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Top End Explorer

from £1,467 excluding flights

  • 7 nights
  • Apr-Nov

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Highlights

In pictures
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Marvel at the aboriginal rock art in Kakadu National Park

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Explore 23 million year old Katherine Gorge

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Learn about the custodians of Arnhem Land on a guided tour

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Search for saltwater crocodiles on a Yellow Waters billabong cruise

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Wander around Darwin's museums, markets and beaches

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Relax in a luxury lodge and explore the surrounding wetlands

Why this trip...

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Tailor made

This itinerary can be tailor made to suit you and is intended to give you a guideline of what is possible in a given timeframe

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Culture

Experience local culture and heritage as part of this holiday

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Activities included

This itinerary features a range of included activities

Overview

Explore wetlands and ancient geological wonders, encounter remarkable wildlife and learn about the fascinating culture of Australia's Top End on this week-long self drive itinerary. Head south from the tropical city of Darwin into the national parks of Australia’s Northern Territory.

Visit Nitmiluk National Park and cruise through the mighty Katherine Gorge before experiencing the remarkable flora and fauna of Kakadu National Park on a Yellow Waters billabong cruise.

Discover one of Australia’s last untouched frontiers, Arnhem Land on a small group guided cultural tour before continuing on to the luxurious eco-safari Wildman Wilderness Lodge in Mary River National Park to marvel at the abundance of wildlife and birdlife that call these seasonal floodplains home.

Spend time to explore laid-back Darwin perhaps visiting a sunset market at Mindil Beach.

Itinerary

The itinerary shown is an example of this self-drive holiday. We have many other hotels and route recommendations which can be tailored to your requirements. Please discuss with our Travel Specialists who can put together a bespoke itinerary for you.

Day 1 Darwin

Spend the day at leisure in tropical Darwin. Wander along the tree lined esplanade and Bicentennial Park before visiting the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory or the Darwin Military Museum, two of the Northern Territories premier cultural attractions. As the sun slips below the horizon, explore the vibrant waterfront precinct or head to nearby bustling Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, a melting pot of cultures all socialising, eating and selling a variety of merchandise. Alternatively enjoy a guided day tour to Litchfield National Park, known for its towering termite mounds and enjoy its many cascading waterfalls, crystal clear swimming holes and pockets of lush rainforest. Overnight at Oaks Elan Darwin.

Spend the day at leisure in tropical Darwin. Wander along the tree lined esplanade and Bicentennial Park before visiting the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory or the Darwin Military Museum, two of the Northern Territories premier cultural attractions. As the sun slips below the horizon, explore the vibrant waterfront precinct or head to nearby bustling Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, a melting pot of cultures all socialising, eating and selling a variety of merchandise. Alternatively enjoy a guided day tour to Litchfield National Park, known for its towering termite mounds and enjoy its many cascading waterfalls, crystal clear swimming holes and pockets of lush rainforest. Overnight at Oaks Elan Darwin.

Day 2 Darwin - Nitmiluk National Park

Collect your hire car and drive south towards Nitmiluk National Park, a region steeped in Aboriginal culture, taking a short detour to Edith Falls for a swim in the lagoon before continuing on to one of the Northern Territory’s most spectacular natural attractions, the mighty Katherine Gorge. Experience the region’s varied flora and fauna on a memorable gorge cruise and learn about the history and traditions of the region’s Indigenous inhabitants as you admire the ever changing colours of the dramatic rock formed nearly 23 million years ago. Alternatively you can canoe through the gorges or take to the skies to witness this remarkable landscape from above. Overnight in Cicada Lodge. Breakfast included.

Collect your hire car and drive south towards Nitmiluk National Park, a region steeped in Aboriginal culture, taking a short detour to Edith Falls for a swim in the lagoon before continuing on to one of the Northern Territory’s most spectacular natural attractions, the mighty Katherine Gorge. Experience the region’s varied flora and fauna on a memorable gorge cruise and learn about the history and traditions of the region’s Indigenous inhabitants as you admire the ever changing colours of the dramatic rock formed nearly 23 million years ago. Alternatively you can canoe through the gorges or take to the skies to witness this remarkable landscape from above. Overnight in Cicada Lodge. Breakfast included.

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Day 3 Nitmiluk National Park - Kakadu National Park

Drive towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kakadu National Park, home to native Aboriginals for more than 50,000 years , passing through the small townships of Katherine and Pine Creek along the way. Covering almost 20,000 sq km, Kakadu National Park has both past and present sheltered a staggering array of habitats and wildlife and is home to a plethora of thriving floodplains, thundering waterfalls and dramatic escarpments. Experience the best the park has to offer on a remarkable Yellow Waters billabong cruise. Encounter saltwater crocodiles, buffalos and a huge array of birdlife as your local guide regales you with tales about the park’s diverse environment, history and its traditional Aboriginal owners. On the way to your accommodation in Jabiru take a short detour to Nourlangie Rock Art Site and learn about the history of Aboriginal communities that lived in Kakadu from their awe-inspiring descriptive paintings. Spend two nights at Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel.

Drive towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kakadu National Park, home to native Aboriginals for more than 50,000 years , passing through the small townships of Katherine and Pine Creek along the way. Covering almost 20,000 sq km, Kakadu National Park has both past and present sheltered a staggering array of habitats and wildlife and is home to a plethora of thriving floodplains, thundering waterfalls and dramatic escarpments. Experience the best the park has to offer on a remarkable Yellow Waters billabong cruise. Encounter saltwater crocodiles, buffalos and a huge array of birdlife as your local guide regales you with tales about the park’s diverse environment, history and its traditional Aboriginal owners. On the way to your accommodation in Jabiru take a short detour to Nourlangie Rock Art Site and learn about the history of Aboriginal communities that lived in Kakadu from their awe-inspiring descriptive paintings. Spend two nights at Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel.

Day 4 Kakadu - Arnhem Land - Kakadu

Enjoy an exhilarating 4WD day tour to one of Australia’s most untouched wilderness areas, Arnhem Land. Your Aboriginal guide will tell you the stories behind the ancient rock art, demonstrate traditional Aboriginal survival and hunting skills and enlighten you on the culture and history of the custodians of Arnhem Land, the Yolngu people. Throughout the tour you will witness some of Australia’s most epic landscapes from endless floodplains to immense escarpments, flourishing billabongs and abundant wildlife. Visitors to Arnhem Land are strictly limited in order to preserve the sanctity of the Aboriginals that live there, so this is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Enjoy an exhilarating 4WD day tour to one of Australia’s most untouched wilderness areas, Arnhem Land. Your Aboriginal guide will tell you the stories behind the ancient rock art, demonstrate traditional Aboriginal survival and hunting skills and enlighten you on the culture and history of the custodians of Arnhem Land, the Yolngu people. Throughout the tour you will witness some of Australia’s most epic landscapes from endless floodplains to immense escarpments, flourishing billabongs and abundant wildlife. Visitors to Arnhem Land are strictly limited in order to preserve the sanctity of the Aboriginals that live there, so this is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Day 5 Kakadu - Mary River National Park

Drive to Wildman Wilderness Lodge in the heart of Mary River National Park. This remote luxury eco-safari lodge located on the edge of the Mary River wetlands offers the ideal opportunity to explore the thriving billabong on its doorstep, enjoy self-guided bushwalks, take out the complimentary mountain bikes or simply relax in the infinity pool. This evening join an optional guided tour to the nearby lookout of Leichhardt Point and enjoy champagne and canapes as you watch the sun set and the sounds of the wetlands come to life. Alternatively enjoy the outside fire pit at the lodge with a glass of wine as you admire the southern night sky above you. Spend two nights at Wildman Wilderness Lodge with dinner and breakfast included.

Drive to Wildman Wilderness Lodge in the heart of Mary River National Park. This remote luxury eco-safari lodge located on the edge of the Mary River wetlands offers the ideal opportunity to explore the thriving billabong on its doorstep, enjoy self-guided bushwalks, take out the complimentary mountain bikes or simply relax in the infinity pool. This evening join an optional guided tour to the nearby lookout of Leichhardt Point and enjoy champagne and canapes as you watch the sun set and the sounds of the wetlands come to life. Alternatively enjoy the outside fire pit at the lodge with a glass of wine as you admire the southern night sky above you. Spend two nights at Wildman Wilderness Lodge with dinner and breakfast included.

Day 6 exploring Mary River National Park

Rise early and enjoy a home billabong cruise on the lodge’s neighbouring billabong. See crocodiles basking in the morning sun as you listen to the abundant birdlife above you before returning to the lodge for a hearty breakfast. Later on enjoy one of the lodge’s many optional tours. Enjoy the exhilarating experience of gliding over the Mary River Wetlands by airboat and encounter grazing buffalo, saltwater crocodiles and a plethora of birdlife hovering above the many lily pads. Alternatively take to the skies for a scenic flight over the spectacular Mary River floodplain.

Rise early and enjoy a home billabong cruise on the lodge’s neighbouring billabong. See crocodiles basking in the morning sun as you listen to the abundant birdlife above you before returning to the lodge for a hearty breakfast. Later on enjoy one of the lodge’s many optional tours. Enjoy the exhilarating experience of gliding over the Mary River Wetlands by airboat and encounter grazing buffalo, saltwater crocodiles and a plethora of birdlife hovering above the many lily pads. Alternatively take to the skies for a scenic flight over the spectacular Mary River floodplain.

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Day 7 Mary River National Park - Darwin

Travel back to Darwin to enjoy your last day in the Northern Territory’s Capital, a state abundant with wildlife, thriving Aboriginal culture and exhilarating activities. Overnight Sky City Darwin.

Travel back to Darwin to enjoy your last day in the Northern Territory’s Capital, a state abundant with wildlife, thriving Aboriginal culture and exhilarating activities. Overnight Sky City Darwin.

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Day 8 depart Darwin

This morning depart for your onwards journey.

This morning depart for your onwards journey.

Accommodation Options

We have selected accommodation comprising mid-range hotels and lodges specifically suited to this holiday as referenced in the itinerary, but we can adapt to suit your personal preference mixing different grades and styles.

Discuss your options with our Travel Specialists.

Excursions

Prices and Departures

Price from £1,467 excluding flights

Airfares start from around £730 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Breakfast, welcome drink & evening canapes at Cicada Lodge
  • Breakfast and dinner at Wildman Wilderness Lodge
  • Car rental (Toyota Corolla or similar) including GPS
  • Yellow Waters billabong cruise
  • Full day Arnhem Land escorted tour
  • Billabong cruise at Wildman Wilderness Lodge
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

This itinerary starts from £1,467 per person, based on 2 sharing a room in standard accommodation, and vehicle rental with GPS.

Prices may vary depending on departure date, or should you prefer alternative categories of accommodation or vehicle size. Please contact us for a detailed quote based on your preferred travel dates, vehicle category and style of accommodation, or to tailor this itinerary.

Meet our expert

nordic team doug kington bw
One of our specialists
Meet Doug

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Tailor made trips

As independent destination specialists, we are able to tailor make holidays to suit you, be that customising the itineraries shown on this website or creating something bespoke.

Travelling sustainably

We believe travel is about finding the right balance between minimising our impact on the environment and broadening minds through new experiences and cultural interaction.

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